WWI Austrian Capture Mosin Nagant Model 1891

Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Apr 13, 2009
Western Maine
In the early battles of WWI, such as Tannenberg and the First Battle of Masurian Lakes, tens of thousands of Russian arms were captured by the Germans. And even though Russia soundly defeated Austria-Hungary in the Battle of Galicia, forty thousand of their troops were still taken capture. Among the arms which were surrendered to the Central Powers at these and subsequent early battles in 1914 and 1915 were the main fighting rifles of Russia, the Mosin Nagant Model of 1891.

With the massive mobilization of resources needed to keep the German and Austro-Hungarian front lines supplied, it was recognized that there would be a deficit of arms. So after being inspected and/or repaired at several possible arsenal and depot facilities, the captured Russian M91 rifles were issued to second line and support units, thus freeing up main rifles for the first line troops.

A small percentage were converted to 8X57 Mauser or the rimmed 8X50 Austrian cartridge, but most were reissued with the original 7.62X54R caliber, as captured Russian ammunition was also plentiful.

Following the war, the majority of these rifles were sold off to countries such as Finland, who refurbished them and/or parted them out. Thus, only a small percentage of captured M91 rifles can be found today in the same configuration in which they were issued to Central Power troops in The Great War. Below is such an example.

This 1905 Tula M91 appears to have remained intact following its Hungarian and Austrian depot/arsenal rework, and shows no obvious evidence of ownership beyond its role in The Great War. The gun has no import marks, and still has crisp stamps and cartouches, nearly 100 years later. The stock is from another gun, apparently a 1907 Izhevsk with a crossbolt but without sling slots, and has wooden plugged holes from a previous wire sling swivel application. Whether these plugged holes were once from a Russian or earlier Austro-Hungarian bent-wire loop application is unknown. Subsequently, it has been refitted with Austrian style sling attachment hardware.

A W-cartouche appears on the top heel of the stock. Sometimes the letter-A will appear on the left side buttstock, which would indicate conversion to the Austrian 8X50mm. Some will also have a letter-M on the right side. But this example does not have the A and M cartouches.

The front swivel is a U-shaped wire with eyelets, and is held with a bolt which passes through a hole drilled in the fore stock. The rear swivel is a wire loop which is fitted into a steel block on a post which is screwed into the forward toe of the stock. This configuration would accept the standard issue Austrian sling.

The R-Stamp on the barrel shows that it once passed through inspection at the arsenal in Budapest, Hungary. The Z which is partially stamped over the R on the barrel may be an incomplete AZF-stamp (Artillerie Zeugs Fabrik in Vienna). A complete AZF-stamp is present on the top receiver flat. The 9-stamp seen on the barrel is also found on other Austrian guns, but the meaning is unknown.

Next, is the number on the rear face of the buttplate. It doesn't follow typical unit marking schemes, but it is obvious from the open-topped 4 that it isn't an Imperial Russian font. The buttplate is from the Izhevsk Arsenal.

The bolt body is also Izhevsk, and is not matched to the barrel serial number. It does have the cool looking series of letters, which do not appear to be Cyrillic, along the handle rib. Possibly looks to be Greek? The letters lambda, theta and omega do appear to be distinct.

Note that the top rear of the sight base under the leaf has a K-stamp, which is indicative of possible inspection at the Steyr Arsenal. The sides of the sight base have not been altered, and are still stamped with the Russian Arshini increments. If it had been rechambered, it would be marked in Austrian Shritt increments of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Lastly, the cleaning rod head has a curious groove around its circumference. Perhaps just an error with the lathe bit before final knurling?

Some related reading:

http://mosinnagant.net/global mosin nagants/Captured-Mosin-Nagants1.asp



A few more pics folks, enjoy and thanks for looking!

Top Bottom